Learning several types of Irish dances is a wonderful (and healthy!) way to express your individual Irish side. This entertaining style, with its captivating beat and social energy, is sure to enchant you.
So what is Irish dance called? Well it goes by a number of names. Here are a few that we will focus on in these pages.
Want to jump quickly to the type that interests you most? Simply click a link above.
Have a bit more time to learn about types of Irish dances? Read on for fascinating history and facts about this energetic dance form.
Let's start with a quick list of reasons to love Irish dance. What is it? Where did it come from? How can I enjoy more of it?
Dancing in Ireland has a long, rich history, drawing from the styles of many different cultures. Traditionally it was a way in which Irish friends and neighbors would meet at the crossroads of their village to spend a day and evening socializing.
It is a wonder to experience this form of dance in person, either by learning a few steps yourself or by experiencing an Irish show such as the spectacular Riverdance.
Either approach is guaranteed to inspire you to explore your own Irish side!
The most recognizable type of Irish traditional dances is called the step dance. It has several variations including the slip jig, the 'ordinary' jig, the reel and the hornpipe.
There are several theories about the iconic posture used during a traditional step dance. One legend holds that young people held their bodies stiff, and danced behind bars or hedges so British soldiers could not tell they were dancing!
The Irish jig is a form of step dance, typically performed in 6/8 time, characterized by rapid steps and hops. It is truly joyful dance form, often accompanied by Celtic fiddle music, and performed during happy special occasions such as festivals and weddings.
The show Riverdance really brought the international spotlight to the traditional Irish step dance. It originated in 1994 after a performance at the Eurovision Song Contest.
A story told through Irish dance, it teaches us about the Irish people and culture, featuring all types of Irish dances and traditional Irish music.
Another popular form is called Social Dancing (or Ceili dancing) and involves multiple couples performing a set of group dances together in lines or circles.
The music sometimes has a singer calling out the next step in order to make it more enjoyable for newcomers. If you have the opportunity to partake in this type of dance we highly recommend it. Jump right in!
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